A Canal + development exec, trapped against a hallway support beam for more than 15 minutes in conversation with a Bollywood producer pitching a kid’s animated TV special, was miraculously rescued yesterday by members of the Cannes fire department and civil defense force.
Henri Balzac, a Paris-based animation producer, was on his way to a series of meetings scheduled in the Palais when suddenly, without warning, he found himself cut off and pinned against a large buttress in the adjacent hallway by an over-exuberant Indian studio head carting around a huge box of bound presentation materials and T-Shirts. Unable to extricate himself or get a word in edgewise, the producer was somehow able to free one of his hands and make a frantic call to a colleague who had managed to make his way to the next meeting without incident. The colleague quickly called authorities, who immediately dispatched the rescue squad to come to Mr. Balzac’s aid.
Relatives of Mr. Balzac who raced to the scene said he lost weight during the ordeal, surviving on only a small tin of Altoids and a half empty €8 bottle of water. The exhausted businessman was airlifted to Hôpital Pierre Nouveau to undergo treatment for dehydration and exposure.
‘’I thank God for rescuing him,’’ said a sobbing woman, who identified herself as Henri’s aunt. “We had almost given up hope.”
Cannes Mayor Bernard Brochand hailed the rescue as a “miracle.” The Mayor made an unscheduled visit to the conference center to comfort Mr. Balzac and oversee the emergency efforts.